New Staff Bios

Our Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter staff team continues to evolve and change. You’ll remember that our long time Communications Director Mona Blaber has moved to a position with the Sierra Club’s Digital Organizing Team and still gets to cover New Mexico! We also want to let you know that Luis Guerrero is headed off to a new adventure. After three years as our Chapter Legislative and Electoral Organizer, Luis has taken a new position at the Center for Civic Policy as their Campaigns Director. We were lucky to have Luis with us and are happy we’ll still be working with him in his new role. We’re also lucky to welcome two new staff members to our team:

Dr. Caroline Funk joined the chapter staff team as Chapter Coordinator in October 2023, and her role focuses on grants and fundraising, volunteer coordination, and chapter administration.
Hi! I’m glad to be a part of the Chapter and to join in the work to make positive changes for a climate secure future. I came to the Sierra Club from positions as a research faculty member and in university administration. Most of my 25 years of research have been spent in Alaska, working in remote wilderness landscapes to better understand long-term ecosystem change and Unangam (Alaska Natives from the Aleutian Islands) history. I have camped under smoking volcanos, watched millions of birds minding their own business, and picked through miles of plastic trash littering the beaches of Bering Sea Islands. My studies of millennial scale climate change made me realize that we need to respond faster and proactively to our changing world, and we need to learn to practice resilience and conservation holistically as a human society. I hope to use my experience in science and administration to help the Chapter and our New Mexico and West Texas communities change our present and future for the better.

Melissa Bernardin

Melissa Bernardin joined us as Climate Organizer in January 2024, and her role focuses on organizing our members and supporters for climate solutions, and just transition action and leadership.
I am excited to join this active and engaged chapter to help us all use our voices and our actions to help slow the climate crisis. I come to this work with over two decades of experience in public policy advocacy and voter engagement. Early in my career I led community outreach on environmental health and conservation issues – and when one door closed and another opened, I moved into the larger sphere of progressive issues, lobbying and organizing the grassroots on campaigns for voting rights, minimum wage, retirement security, and health care access, among others. I’ve also held unique roles coordinating statewide initiatives: one focused on strengthening the advocacy capacity of human service groups, and another supporting a network of state and local organizations formed to strengthen grassroots and civic leadership. I lived most of my life in New Hampshire until moving to New Mexico in 2022 to escape the oppressive humidity and never-ending rain that global warming has brought to the Northeastern US. I live with my partner and our fur babies in Los Lunas and in my free time I enjoy hiking, cycling, and being outdoors.

New Staff Bios